Tag Archives | Ireland

Graffiti and Murals from Northern Ireland: Taking a Walk in Belfast in Autumn of 1998

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A few days ago I watched Steve McQueen’s “Hunger”, the British-Irish historical drama about the 1981 Irish hunger strike which took place in protest to the inhumane conditions inside the infamous Maze Prison – quite a relevant topic considering our current predicament.

After finishing the movie and taking a moment to catch my breath, I remembered that I had a few pictures from my trip to Ireland that I wanted to share.

In autumn of 1998 I made my way to Northern Ireland. I was in Belfast a few months after the signing of the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement). When I arrived in the city, I was told that it wasn’t the best of times to be there. There had been some outbreaks of violence and tensions were running high. I was warned that it wasn’t safe to venture the city and that I should stay in the well-known areas.

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From Belfast to Basra: Terrorizing Civilians is What Occupying Forces Do

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The latest no shit story is that “soldiers from an undercover unit used by the British army in Northern Ireland killed unarmed civilians.”

“Before it was disbanded 40 years ago, after 18 months, plain-clothes soldiers carried out round-the-clock patrols of west Belfast – the heartland of the IRA – in unmarked cars.”

Former members of the unit stated that “they also carried out drive-by shootings of nationalists, even though there was no independent evidence any of them were IRA members.”

We were not there to act like an army unit, we were there to act like a terror group.”


source

This news will, of course, not surprise the Irish nor anyone unfortunate enough to have first-hand experience of living under occupation – or anyone remotely aware of history for that matter.

A more recent occurrence of terrorism by occupying forces was documented in Iraq in 2003.… Read the rest

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Stingy Jack and the Legend of the Jack O’ Lantern

Jack-o-LanternIt’s Halloween.  Time to help your kids develop their bed-wetting habits.  Time to buy a ton of candy, claim it’s for trick-or-treaters, turn off the porch light, and gorge yourself on waxy chocolate.  Time to carve the ol’ jack-o’-lantern.

One of my favorite Halloween myths is the origin story of the jack-o’-lantern: the trickster legend of Stingy Jack.  This folk tale comes from Ireland, which was also a major cultural center for the Celts, who observed the festival of Samhain, which serves as the root from which our modern Halloween sprang.

According to the story, which may be centuries old, a drunkard known as Stingy Jack was infamous throughout Ireland as a liar and a cheat.  He was especially despised for his love of trickery, his favorite pastime.

One day, while bored and lounging lazily around Hell, Lucifer happened to overhear some horrible stories about Jack’s devious skills, which were apparently even more dastardly than his own.  Not to be outdone by a mere drunken Irishman, the Devil decided to find Jack and see if the stories were true.… Read the rest

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Irish City Hosting The G8 Summit Gets Fake Storefronts To Create Appearance Of Prosperity

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Located in a region devastated by austerity and the global financial crisis, fascinatingly, Enniskillen will be turned into a movie-set-style simulation of a thriving town when global leaders pass through for the G8 Summit next month. Via PRI’s The World, Irish Times reporter Dan Keenan says:

These are basically empty shops that are being now made to look as if they are thriving businesses – what they’ve done is they have filled the shop front window with photographs in the windows of what was the business before it went bankrupt or closed. In other words, grocery shops, butcher shops, pharmacies, you name it. It’s an attempt to make the place look as positive as possible for the visiting G8 leaders and their entourages, and it’s really tried to put a mask on a recession that has really hit this part of Ireland really very badly indeed.

This initiative is stemming from the Foreign Office in London.

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Report: Thousands Of Irish Women Were Enslaved In Catholic Laundries Which Ended In 1996

They were being punished for being orphans or single mothers, for committing petty crimes, or being perceived as rebellious in some way. Via ABC News:

Ireland’s government oversaw workhouses run by Catholic nuns that once held thousands of women and teenage girls in unpaid labor and usually against their will, a fact-finding report concluded Tuesday, establishing state involvement in the country’s infamous Magdalene Laundries for the first time.

Opposition leaders demanded that Prime Minister Enda Kenny offer an official apology for the state’s failure to enforce labor laws and human rights standards in the 10 Magdalene Laundries, and to pledge to establish a taxpayer-funded compensation program for survivors. The report found that 10,012 women were committed to the workhouses from 1922 to the closure of the last two laundries in 1996.

The government since 2002 has paid more than $1.3 billion to more than 13,000 people who suffered abuse in other Catholic-run workhouses and orphanages but explicitly excluded former Magdalene residents, contending these were privately run institutions with negligible state involvement.

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Strange History: Did Native Americans Land in Ireland?

Another possible case of Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic travel?

Picture: Edward Curtis (PD)

Via Strange History:

One of the most dramatic pieces of evidence for a pre-Columbian crossing of the Atlantic is to be found in a single Latin marginalia, that is some words scribbled into the margin of a book. The sentence in question appears in a copy of the Historia rerum ubique gestarum by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini which was published in Venice in 1477. In that work Piccolomini discusses the arrival of Indians in Europe blown from across the Atlantic at a date when America was unknown to Europeans (another post another day). Next to this passage a reader has written in Latin the following extraordinary words:

Homines de catayo versus oriens venierunt. Nos vidimus multa notabilia et specialiter in galuei ibernie virum et uxorem in duabus lignis areptis ex mirabili persona.

Keep reading…you’ll never guess who scribbled in the book.Read the rest

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Catholic Priests Oppose ‘Report Pedophilia’ Bill in Ireland

Claire O’Sullivan and Ann Cahill write in the Irish Examiner:

Justice Minister Alan Shatter reiterated that everyone, including priests, were obliged to report child sex abuse and other offences, including white collar crime, to the gardaí, even if they hear about it in the confessional.

The minister described the issue as a media obsession and said priests had been obliged to provide gardaí with information about a whole series of crimes since the 1998 Offences Against the State Amendment Act.

Nobody had raised any question about this or the 2011 Criminal Justice Act that placed the same obligation on the whole community, including priests, to assist gardaí with information.

The confessional was a diversion from the real issue, which had nothing to do with the confessional but with the fact that sexual abuse of children by clergy had been known about by religious orders and leaders as a result of parents, victims and others telling them, outside of the confessional.

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